When you have a guinea pig, it is your duty to now provide a healthy and nutritional diet for your little furball.
A proper diet with a lot of exercise is essential to a long and healthy life. Guinea pigs can eat dandelions, for this flower provides them with a lot of healthy nutrients.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions?
Yes, guinea pigs do have the ability to digest dandelions. And they don’t have to be specially ordered dandelions either. You can just walk into your yard and pluck any dandelions that are on the ground. Make sure to wash them first in case there are other animals around who might have peed on them.
The Edible Parts of the Dandelion
Every part of a dandelion can be eaten: the root, the stem, the leaves, and the flower. But they must be washed off in case there any pesticides or weed killers on they’re service. If there are pesticides and you do not wash off the dandelions, you could end up poisoning your guinea pig.
The Proper Diet of a Guinea Pig
When when you are planning a proper diet for your guinea pig, there are three main components to their diet to keep them healthy and happy. You must strictly follow the percentages of their diet, because decreasing hay and increasing vegetables, fruits, or pellets could seriously ruin the health of a guinea pig.
Hay is the main component of a guinea pig’s diet, as it provides 80% of its fiber and many of its calories. Despite their small size, guinea pigs need a lot of fiber and roughage to keep their bowels and intestines healthy. Many owners leave a brick of hay in their cage so they can nibble on it all day long. It is essential to buy good quality hay that is not treated with a lot of pesticides.
2. Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits, along with pellets, make up the other 20% of a guinea pig’s diet. When you feed a guinea pig vegetables, you should only give them one cup of vegetables a day. Although vegetables have many nutrients and vitamins that are good for them, too many vegetables can cause a build-up of excess vitamins and minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A. This will have many adverse effects on their body. It is good to switch out different vegetables every day, so they get a mix of different foods with different nutrients.
Fruits, on the other hand, should be considered a snack and only served once or twice a week. Fruits have a lot of sugar, so you should only serve a guinea pig a few bites worth. Even an apple slice might be too much.
You must feed your guinea pig two tablespoons of pellets every day because they have a lot of amino acids. But pellets also have a lot of fat, so you shouldn’t overfeed them. Overeating will cause obesity, just like humans.
A dandelion is a plant, they’re nowhere near as sweet as fruits, and their fat content will never match what is in a pellet. So you should think of them as being in the vegetable category.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Too Many Dandelions?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat too many dandelions. This is why dandelion should only be fed to guinea pigs two to three times a week and just up to ten flowers and stems per serving.
Effects of Excessive Dandelions
When a guinea pig eats too many dandelions, they will develop an extreme build-up of calcium in their body. Too much calcium means that they will also develop bladder or kidney stones. Because of their tiny bodies, these stones are more painful then if humans or cats and dogs were to get them. Eating too many dandelions also causes diarrhea and nausea in some guinea pigs. If you notice that your guinea pig’s poop is watery after feeding them they serving a dandelion, you may not want to feed them dandelions at all or lessen the amount you give them in a serving.
What to Do If You Feed Your Guinea Pig Too Many Dandelions
If you realize you have been feeding too many dandelions to your guinea pig, immediately stop and also stop any other calcium-rich foods like spinach for a few days. Give their body some time to get rid of some calcium in their system before you return these plants and vegetables into their diet.
Nutritional Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelions are full of amazing nutrients and vitamins that can improve the health and well-being of your guinea pig.
1. Vitamin C
You’ll be surprised to learn that there is a lot of vitamin C in dandelions. Guinea pigs are prone to scurvy, so having a diet high in vitamin C is important. Although the entire plant has vitamin C, the highest concentration of it is in the leaves.
2. Vitamin A
Unlike other animals, the guinea pig is unable to make its own vitamin A, so it needs a steady diet of it and its bloodstream to meet its vitamin A requirements. Dandelions are also known for their high concentration of vitamin A.
If dandelions are given to guinea pigs, the potassium in them helps prevents issues with their blood pressure, keeps their heart healthy, and also makes it easier for them to urinate and remove salts from the body through their urine.
Flowers Guinea Pigs Can and Cannot Eat
There are a few more flowers out there that guinea pigs can eat. But not too many, so do not assume that guinea pigs can any flowers you see.
The following flowers are the ones that are safe for guinea pigs:
- Milk thistle
- Red clover
- Sweet violet
There are also flowers that guinea pigs cannot eat. They are:
- Green clover
- And plantain
- Dandelions have many vitamins and minerals that guinea pigs need
- When you pick dandelions, they must be washed to rinse off both urine and pesticides.
- Eating too many dandelions can cause a build-up of calcium of a guinea pig’s body.
- If you are feeding your guinea pig too many dandelions, stop it and other calcium-rich foods for a few days.
- The potassium in dandelions helps prevent heart issues.
- One serving of dandelions is up to ten flowers and stems.